Thanks to the boom of foodtech, at the click of a mouse or a tap on our screens, we can have delicious meals and scrumptious desserts right at our doorstep. And this ease has led to the birth of a deluge of startups and businesses.
Foodtech startups have revolutionized the way Indians consume food. From smartphone equipped delivery personnel to an app powered by routing algorithms, this innovating space has transformed the way we look at food like never before. Many of the unconventional startups into the Food Tech domain are disrupting the industry with the exceptional adoption of these technologies. The space is so sizzling that even the investors are unable to stop themselves from taking a plunge in this sector.
Transformation of Customers
Technology has not only changed the way we view food — the consumers themselves have shifted. Due to the advent of tech and startups, consumers have become time conscious where tracking is imperative at every step, right from- when a customer orders, the restaurant starts its preparation to finding the right driver to deliver it. Also, they demand high quality and are now interested in customizing their food experiences in real life. Social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have made it easy for consumers to become “food producers,” create user-generated content that brands can share. These days, it seems like people are more and more interested in taking a deep dive into the food they’re eating and where it’s coming from — than actually eating it.
A quick glance at the Stats
With new consumer demographics comprising young, urban-dwelling working professionals driving its growth, foodtech has been amongst the most promising sectors within the Indian startup ecosystem. Segments like grocery delivery, personal chefs, box delivery, and on-demand meals are becoming increasingly popular, leading to an unprecedented number of startups joining the race for market share. The Indian food industry, the sixth-largest in the world, has seen unprecedented growth in terms of size and revenues over the past five years. Retail startups contribute about 70% to the total sales, while food processing companies account for the balance of 30% of the country’s overall food market. A high-growth sector, the Indian food industry is poised for even more significant growth with the use of tech and estimated to $894.98 Bn in size by 2020, while the food service industry is expected to reach $78 Bn by 2018.
As the technology is increasingly contributing to food’s journey from the farm to the fork. Let’s have a look at the most promising food tech applications around which are used by the startups-
Rise of Cloud Kitchen
By shifting the focus from the core food delivery business, food tech companies are working on slashing costs and serving good quality food. In that quest, the companies have found a cloud kitchen as one of the mediums to gain traction of the Indian consumers and offer lip-smacking food at customers’ doorstep. A cloud kitchen is the latest modification of low-budget restaurants, which could not provide seating space to the customers. These establishments exist only to cook and deliver food to customers who place online orders. Although you cannot pick up orders directly because there are no storefronts, consumer demand heavily influences ghost restaurants. This concept is new in the Indian industry, while in foreign countries, giant food-tech firms are employing it massively and expanding their footprint in the cloud kitchen niche.
The food-tech industry embraces Robotics and Machines
The use of machines in the food industry also ensures quality and affordability. By using machines, it drives down the costs of keeping the food fresh and increases productivity. Reports say the rise of robotics in the food industry is a tangible example of food tech. The number of robots in the global food industry is well over 30,000, while the number of robots per 10,000 employees rose from 62 in 2013 to 84 in 2018. Robotic machines can help to eliminate safety issues for the more dangerous jobs in the food industry. In 2016, a tech company rolled out a program for butchery. By using robots to cut the more difficult of the meats, they can save many work injuries. This is just one of the many ways technology can improve the industry.
3-D printing in the food-tech
The idea of 3D printed food isn’t exactly mouth-watering, but the technology stands to disrupt the food industry on at least some level. There have been several applications of 3-D printing food from NASA printing a pizza to creating soft foods for those who cannot chew hard food to consume. It opens the door for innovation, being able to create many things that we were unable to before while also being able to help with food sustainability.
Food technology is not just about smart ovens anymore–although it is about that, too–it’s also about sensors, health, and a whole lot more. The investors and foodpreneurs are at large in a win-win situation when it comes to investing or expanding in food tech, thus leading to the growth of food tech startups in India.
The author is CEO & CTO at Ripsey.
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